Self Tanning Questions

How Do You Get Self-Tanner Off Clothes & Sheets? (Explained)

Written by: Anastasija

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Self-tanning is a popular beauty procedure, but it can take a lot of maintenance and sometimes get a bit messy. This article is definitely worth saving for the next time you end up in a situation where you need to get self-tanner off your clothes.

Is it possible to keep clothes clean after self-tanning?

When you self-tan, it’s likely that you’re clothes are going to get messy, especially if they’re light-coloured or tight on the skin. Even if you are super careful when putting your clothes on whilst you’re waiting for the tan to dry, you can’t be sure that they’ll stay clean.

When you’re wearing your clothes, they brush up against your skin anyway, so there’s a high chance that the fake tan will transfer.

Even after you have waited for the tan to dry and washed it off in the shower, there is still the possibility that the product will transfer. Some claim to be ‘transfer-proof’, but sweating and other external factors may still get in the way of your new tan. The day after you have self-tanned, you want to be particularly careful of this.

Essentially, anyone who uses self-tanner will experience transfer on their clothes at some point, which is why it’s super useful to know how to get it out.

How can you get self-tanner off your clothes?

As you’ll probably encounter this scenario at some point in your life, or you already have if you’re here, you’ll be happy to hear that it is possible to get self-tanner off your clothes. Here are some methods worth trying.

When you find fake tan stains, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible, so the stain has less time to settle into the fabric. You should also always make sure to check the washing instructions in the label and only follow what is suitable for your garment.

Method #1: Laundry detergent

Cold water is known for helping to remove stains, so start by rinsing the area, but avoid using hot water as this can have the opposite effect. If possible, rinse the garment on the opposite side to the stain. (e.g. If the stain is on the front, put the back directly under the running water)

Next, create a mixture of laundry detergent and water and gently dab it onto the area. Avoid scrubbing as this can damage the clothes and make the stain worse. If you don’t have any laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid or soap will work too. Finish by washing the clothes as normal and the stain should be gone.

Method #2: Toothpaste

If you have a small stain or drop of fake tan on your clothes, this method works well, however it isn’t as effective for larger stains.

Take a fresh toothbrush with some whitening toothpaste. You can also use your finger if the material is more delicate. Just dab the area with some cold water and use either your finger or the toothbrush to make circular motions, removing the stain. When you are happy, rinse with cold water and wash in the machine.

Method #3: A stain remover

Although it may sound obvious, a stain remover bar or powder is another useful method of clearing fake tan stains. For best results, you should follow the instructions on the product, making sure that any water you use is cold unless stated otherwise. Just like any other method, finish with a regular machine wash and you should be good to go!

Method #4: A standard 40C wash

Unless your clothes are white or pale, a standard wash at 40C should be enough to remove fake tan stains. You’re best off washing the garment(s) in a separate wash to ensure best results and prevent any problems. If you are choosing to go with this method, check the washing instructions in the label of your clothes to make sure that it won’t damage them.

Method #5: Hydrogen peroxide

If you have stained some white clothes, hydrogen peroxide is a good fix, but it shouldn’t be used on any colours or delicate materials. If you are unsure whether you can use hydrogen peroxide on your specific clothing item, check the label and, if you’re still unsure, perform a patch test in a small area which isn’t very visible when you wear it.

All you need to do is take a cloth or similar with 3% hydrogen peroxide and use it to dab at the stain. Hydrogen peroxide is a lifting agent, so you should notice that the stain gradually disappears. Once you’re finished, make sure to wash as normal.

How can you get self-tanner off of sheets?

Your clothes aren’t the only thing which can get stained when your fake tan. If you have slept before showering your self-tanner off, or it has just transferred to your sheets, you may be wondering if fake tan will wash off your sheets. Here are some methods to try.

Method #1: Laundry detergent

Just like your clothes, you can use the same laundry detergent solution to remove fake tan from your sheets. Mix up the same solution as before of laundry detergent or dishwashing soap and cool water. Start by dabbing the area with cold water and then do the same with the laundry detergent solution.

Finish by washing your sheets if necessary and they should be as good as new.

Method #2: Club soda

Similar to the laundry detergent method, club soda can be used to remove fake tan stains from your bedding.

Once again, dab the area with some cold water and wet a cloth with club soda. Use this to gently dab at the stain but avoid scrubbing it. If needed, position a dark towel underneath the sheets so that the fake tan doesn’t transfer anywhere else. Give your sheets a good wash and they should be fine!

Method #3: Soaking the sheets

If the fake tan stains are large, some methods may be ineffective at removing the whole thing at once. In this case, try soaking the sheets.

You’ll need to fill up a bath or basin big enough to hold your sheets with hot water and biological laundry detergent. The enzymes in biological laundry detergent aren’t in non-biological detergent, and these are what clear the stain. When the mixture is ready, put in the sheets and allow them to soak overnight. Drain in the morning and wash them as usual.

Additional tips

When you use self-tanner, here are a few tips to keep in mind which will help to prevent staining your clothes or sheets.

  • Wear darker clothes: it makes sense that the darker your clothes are, the less likely they are to show up stains. Wear darker clothes when you’re waiting for your tan to dry and for the following day if possible.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes: if your clothes are tight, the self-tanner is much more likely to transfer to them. Loose-fitting clothes are a good option because they come into much less contact with your skin.
  • Use a dark towel: after showering of your self-tanner, use a dark towel or one you don’t mind getting stained as there may still be some tan which didn’t rinse off properly.
  • Sleep on a towel: if you are planning on leaving your self-tan to develop overnight and wash it off in the morning, consider sleeping on top of a dark towel to prevent your sheets from getting stained.

Also read:
How Do You Remove Self-Tanner From Hair? (4 Easy Methods)
How to Get Rid of Self-Tanner from Hands? (A Quick Guide)
How to Take Off Self Tanner Quickly? (My Favorite Methods)

Final thoughts

If you fake tan often, it’s very likely you’ll end up staining your clothes or bedding, but with these tips, you can be confident knowing how to gelt self-tanner stains off. There are a variety of different methods, and it’s worth trying different ones for different materials and stains.

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

Anastasija thirsty for tan about me

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